(special thanks to NAM Grahics Guru James Skelly for scanning in the above wristband that I was issued as part of today’s events)
In Which I Audition To Be a Contestant…
Thanks to the Wharton Club of Washington, DC we heard that there was going to be an open casting call for contestants to appear on Season 6 of The Apprentice which will be held in Los Angeles this year.
So, it seemed rather fitting that The Blogger’s Apprentice ought to apply right? Indeed he did, and was encouraged along the way by the Blogger-in-Chief. The following is an account of what happened.
The venue for the Washington, DC open casting call was the Mercedes Benz of Alexandria dealership. It was a perfect spot. A staff member informed us that this is where they held last year’s the regional casting call for last year’s Apprentice as well as the most recent edition of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. The Venue worked well because it was very open and spacious. Plus, its almost fitting since The Donald himself owns a car made by Mercedes (on the show, the car he can be seen riding in a Maybach, which is owned by Mercedes. And true enough in Trump style, these cars have an average list price of about $300,000. Maybe I can afford one when I get hired!
I was determined to secure a place in line and initially thought that since the Web site stated line formation would begin at 6:00 AM, I’d have to get there at 4:00 AM at the very latest.
Well, I caught a bought of laziness and at the last minute only set my alarm for 4:00 AM and left the house at 5:00 and arrived on site at 5:30. Luckily, I was the 6th person in line! So, at that point I knew I was virtually guaranteed a wristband for admission.
I initially parked at a lot across the street but was soon told by the police on duty that my SUV would be towed if I didn’t move it to the designated lot several blocks away.
Thankfully, the folks that I was chatting with were nice enough to hold my spot in line while I ran back and forth to re-park.
So, the waiting game began. I was told that the Washington, DC area was the 5th in their 10-city tour to find the best apprentices. With ten cities scheduled for the open casting call, we were pleased to hear that there is no set number of second round contestants that are chosen for each city. I was also told that everyone in line by 9:00 (which is when they would start issuing wristbands) would get a spot in line. I guess being early didn’t matter. That kinds sucks especially if you were a lady named Polly, whom we met, who camped out the night before beginning at 11:30. But at least she was interviewed on TV.
I was also informed that the number of auditioning for last year’s show from the DC area was around 700 people.
I also felt comforted that two people from last year’s crowd made it onto round two. The secret, they say, is in being original! (well, duh!).
Here’s how events transpired:
Around 7:30 AM the entrepreneurs of the group showed up offering coffee and doughnuts for sale for a dollar each. Slick. Really slick. Go to the head of the class. The Donald will love them!
Around 8:00 AM, wristbands were distributed.
Around 9:30 AM, they called in groups of ten, (three sets each to be seated at long cafeteria-like tables).
The group that I was included some really talented folks. A few small business owners, a recent graduate of Harvard law School who was already worth half a million, an innovator in health care and lots more.
A member of the Apprentice staff began by going around the table asking for each person’s name and something interesting about them that’s memorable as they collected the completed application from each person (FYI, the application isn’t actually that bad. Its five questions. We’re told that if you move on to round two that there is a more lengthily application).
One person in our group said they still suck their thumb, others weren’t all that memorable, as you might obviously guess. I noted that my occupation was a Blogger and that I’ve traveled to all seven continents. Maybe they will remember that?
The second part of group interview was the debate. Our group was tipped off on this by a staff member of the Mercedes dealership. She told us that Apprentice staff members will likely ask a contentious political question and that the best way to stand out was to take the opposite position as the rest of the group. In year’s past the questions have been about gay rights, abortion. We were asked to debate affirmative action.
There were a few simple rules: no hogging the time. Do not address the staff moderator but each other and no cross talk. As you can probably imagine, an issue like affirmative action with ten young people is bound to generate a McLaughlin Group-like shout fest. Two of the alphas in our group tried to control the situation by asking people to each speak for ten seconds. That didn’t work. Neither did the idea that we should take use a marker as a sign of authority to speak.
The shout fest lasted for about 5 minutes. The moderator then cut off the debate and went around the room to ask two questions: based on what you now know about each other, 1) Who would you hire? 2) Who would you fire?
Not surprisingly, the Blogger’s Apprentice received the most votes to be fired. We think it was a set-up from the beginning based on political views expressed during the debate. But who knows…maybe that will be my memorable moment?
We were then dismissed and informed that if the staff wanted you back, you’d get a call from a “310” (Los Angeles) phone number in the evening or the following day. So, its one of those don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you situations.
I was quite impressed with the way things were handled (would you expect anything less if Trump lends his name to it?). In the brief group interview process I truly felt that I was in the board room and it was a lot of fun. I had never auditioned for a game show or reality show and even if I don’t get that call back, it was an experience like none other and something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Auditioning for a game show or reality show is one of those things like visiting Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving or the Grand Canyon: you just gotta do it at least once in your life to say that you’ve done it.
The Apprentice is a tough, long, job interview process filled with many very qualified people (as my group was certainly representative of).
Good luck to all those to apply and for those lucky past participants, I really believe The Donald is correct in that each and every one has a lot of potential.